Theologian: Bush presidency fares well on biblical grounds
WASHINGTON (BP)--The presidency of George W. Bush has been a success from an evangelical Christian perspective because it has increased freedom for Gospel proclamation across the globe, theologian Wayne A. Grudem said in a presentation during the Evangelical Theological Society’s Nov. 14-16 annual meeting at the Washington Hilton.
Grudem, one of numerous presenters during the ETS sessions, is research professor of Bible and Theology at Phoenix Seminary in Scottsdale, Ariz.
Grudem weighed the Bush presidency on 10 major issues that included protection of life, marriage/family and the courts, human dignity, the political process, the environment, economics, the war on terror, communication skills and personal character and faith.
Overall, Grudem said Bush “clearly identifies himself as an evangelical Christian” who regularly reads the Bible and believes it. And despite relentless attacks by political opponents and the secular press, Bush has consistently given the nation a stalwart example of kindness and moral leadership consistent with an evangelical Christian worldview, Grudem said.
“I am so very thankful for an outstanding, I think excellent president,” Grudem said. “What more could we ask from a president, the man who has the most difficult job in the whole world? I think [he] has continually exhibited personal conduct that is above reproach, giving moral leadership to the nation by example of life and by kindness that amazes me toward those in politics and in the press who continue relentlessly to attack him.
“[President Bush] has done right. He is changing world history in a right direction, a direction that will give more freedom for everyone to determine their own governments and their own religion, and, of significance to me as a Christian, more freedom for the proclamation of the Gospel around the world, so that people would have a fair chance to hear and consider, but never ever be compelled to accept, that good news of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.”
Among other stances that “have done much good for our nation and for the world,” Grudem pointed out that the president’s contributions to the pro-life cause have been in step with biblical principles as illustrated by Bush’s signing into law a partial-birth abortion ban in 2003, a measure former President Bill Clinton vetoed twice.
In addition to supporting other pro-life legislation, Bush has appointed judges to the federal courts who do not seek to legislate from the bench, Grudem said. Bush has also appointed two Supreme Court justices -- John Roberts and Samuel Alito -- who hold to a “strict construction” of the Constitution, an approach Grudem said is consistent with biblical truth-telling.
“This is extremely significant,” Grudem said, “because in recent decades, a small majority of our current Supreme Court, and lower courts that follow their example, have gone beyond their constitutionally defined task of interpreting laws passed by Congress and state legislatures, and have in effect created new ‘laws’ that have never been passed by any elected body.
“By this process they have imposed on us decrees that allow abortionists to murder unborn babies, that protect pornographers who poison the minds of children and adults, that redefine marriage to include homosexual couples, and that banish prayer, God’s name and God’s laws from public places, thus prohibiting free exercise of religion and violating Romans 13:3. In taking to itself the right to decree such policies, the Supreme Court has seriously distorted the system of checks and balances intended by the Constitution between the legislative, executive and judicial branches of government.”
The president has also upheld the traditional biblical view of marriage and has opposed “same-sex marriage” by supporting a constitutional amendment defining marriage as between one man and one woman. Grudem said it is properly within the government’s domain as defined in Romans 13:1-7 to encourage traditional marriage, because when it does so, the ruling authority is exercising its God-ordained role of restraining evil and rewarding good.
“Should government approve homosexual marriages? I think definitely not,” Grudem said. “Government should not give its approval and blessing to an arrangement that God’s Word says is morally wrong, and that is destructive to healthy families and destructive to society.
“If homosexual marriage if forced on us by the courts, we do not now sufficiently appreciate the destructive impact it would have in the lives of our children and grandchildren and on our freedom to preach from the Bible.”
Grudem also lauded the Bush administration for defending the nation against terrorism. While the mainstream press has done nothing but file negative reports from Iraq to turn America against military action there, Grudem said, Bush has followed biblical principles in carrying out the controversial war. In the battle against terrorism, the president has not shied away from calling evil by its proper name, Grudem said.
“I believe that a biblical worldview, including the existence of evil in the world, gave President Bush the basis for seeing this as a conflict between good and evil,” Grudem said. “And I suspect that it is his sense of moral clarity in this area that cannot be comprehended by the moral relativists who so dominate European politics and public opinion which accounts for much of Europe’s dislike of President Bush.”
Grudem said democracy is taking root, however tenuously, in Iraq, and that the war on terror has made American allies out of such countries as Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan and Lebanon. The new allies are taking militant action to drive terrorism from their midst. These developments could open doors for Gospel proclamation, Grudem said, which is the only force that ultimately will halt terrorism and bring about the transformation of human hearts.
Grudem mildly criticized Bush in two areas: government spending and the McCain-Feingold Bill that limits campaign contributions. The government’s wasteful fiscal practices is not in line with the biblical mandate of financial stewardship, Grudem said. And Grudem said he opposes passage of the McCain-Feingold Bill because he believes it wrongly restricts freedom of speech.
While Bush’s opponents have accused him of such things as lying to the American people, Grudem said he is glad to have a man of high integrity occupying the nation’s highest office.
“In spite of many partisan accusations, I do not think President Bush has lied to the people,” Grudem said. “I believe he is a man who keeps his word.... He has been free from bribery and scandal and has exhibited conduct above reproach ... and he is a man who is not ashamed of his Christian testimony. I am very thankful for an outstanding president.”